Monday, May 20, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Monday, May 20, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Ukrainians who document forced recruitment risk jail

The war in Ukraine

Published 9 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff

Ukrainian authorities are now threatening up to eight years in prison for anyone who films the work of recruiters during mobilization. Kiev has recently launched a new wave of mobilization to replace battlefield losses, which Moscow estimates at over 110,000 this year alone.

In western Ukraine, specifically in the Khmelnytskyi region, authorities warn of serious consequences “for anyone who documents the work of recruiters during the ongoing mobilization”. Consequences that, according to Ukrainian law, include up to eight years in prison.

“Sharing information on social networks and messenger groups about the locations and movements of recruiters in the Khmelnytsky region when delivering messages to citizens eligible for conscription leads to the disclosure of forms and methods”, the press service of the recruitment center posted on Facebook on Monday.

The background is the ongoing mobilization recently launched by Kiev to compensate for losses on the battlefield. Losses that Kiev kept secret during the war, but which Moscow estimates at over 110,000 soldiers in 2024 alone.

The campaign to replenish the ranks of the Ukrainian military is now facing resistance from those seeking to avoid conscription. Methods of evading the often aggressive mobilization include sharing information about recruiters’ movements and call-up schedules on social media and messenger apps.

The recruitment office in the Khmelnytskyi region warns that such actions risk serious consequences under new laws that “prohibit the disruption of military affairs and official military activities during a state of war.”

Strict mobilization rules

Recent changes to mobilization rules, signed into law by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj, lowered the age of conscription to 25 and automated the registration and dispatch of call-ups.

The law also allows Ukrainians with asymptomatic HIV, hepatitis, slowly progressing cancer, tuberculosis and mental illness to be called up for military service in the armed forces.

However, the law has apparently not prevented an increased exodus from the country by those hoping to avoid military service. Many are now trying to flee to neighboring countries such as Hungary and Romania, leading to dangerous attempts to cross the border.

The Ukrainian border service reports that up to 120-150 people are stopped from leaving the country every day.

Men dress up as women

To avoid conscription, some have taken drastic measures such as dressing up as women to try to escape. In one recent incident, a man was arrested by Ukrainian border guards while trying to flee to Hungary dressed as a woman. In another case, six men attempted to swim across the Tisza River to Romania; four of them drowned.

The Ukrainian authorities continue to be overwhelmed by the two-year conflict. This puts increased pressure on the NATO-controlled government in Kiev as it tries to manage the mobilization and its consequences for the population.

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